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Sen. Omar Fateh Says Charter Amendment Vote Gives Mpls. Chance For 'New Approach To Public Safety'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Election Day is five weeks from this Tuesday. Absentee voting is already underway in Minneapolis.

Voters there will decide one of the most controversial issues of the past 18 months, an amendment that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety. It's not clear what could happen next.

One recent poll shows Black and white residents have different views of the amendment.

The only poll on this issue shows a split on how Black and white voters view the amendment and the future of the Minneapolis Police Department. When all voters were asked if they supported the amendment, by a margin of 49-41 they say they do support replacing the department.

Among white voters the support for getting rid of the police department is much higher, 51%-40%.

But among Black voters only 42% favor getting rid of the police department. Forty-seven percent are against it. When it comes to the issue of more officers in the department, 75% of Black voters want more officers while only 51% of white voters do.

Last week in Talking Points we heard from opponents of the amendment. This week we hear from State Sen. Omar Fateh, who supports the amendment. He was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

"Minneapolis has produced story after story of police brutality and this amendment gives us a chance to take a new approach to public safety, mainly a comprehensive public health approach that we have not had before," Fateh said, "by building a department of public safety that has both police and public safety professionals that are qualified to deal with complex issues."

Critics of the amendment say it does defund the police department and it's not clear at all what kind of a police force would be in the brand-new Department of Public Safety. The amendment is getting attention way beyond Minneapolis. As Fateh put it, the world is watching to see what the outcome of the charter vote will be.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Mike Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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